'Hey that's my seat! Get your own!'

Lyric adds donors to its history

Carla St.Louis | 4/3/2014, 9 a.m.
When spectators enter the historic halls of the Lyric Theater on Friday, they may take a second look at their ...
The newly refurbished Lyric Theater and the Black Archives Welcome Center open its doors in a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 6 in the historic Overtown neighborhood of Miami. Carl Juste

When spectators enter the historic halls of the Lyric Theater on Friday, they may take a second look at their ticket after noticing a name on their seat.

It's all part of the Take a Seat sponsorship program, an ongoing capital campaign to raise funds for the historic venue located at 819 Northwest Second Avenue.

Philanthropists get to see their names immortalized in stone, through the “Take Your Seat(s)!” campaign, a fundraiser that doubles as a communal memory space.

Affectionately dubbed as Little Broadway due to the steady stream of celebrities it attracted such as Aretha Franklin and Count Basie during its heyday, the Lyric Theater's plan to attract philanthropists by giving them a preview of Hollywood's flashing lights has translated into a middling pay off.

As of today's date, the Lyric Theater has sold over 65 seats and collected over $45,000, according to Kamilla Pritchett, development manager for the Black Archives, History and Research Foundation South Florida, Inc. of South Florida, which manages the Lyric Theatre.

Currently, the theater houses 400 seats. The program expects to sell an additional amount of seats this year, according to Pritchett.

Consider it the Lyric Theater's version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, complete with a plaque that boasts the donor's name, mounted on a vintage, Lyric Theater seat.

Usually in the Black community, asking someone to 'take a seat,' is a dismissal. But at the Lyric Theater, taking a seat is done as an act of support for Overtown's most cherished facility.

Log on to the theater's website and you will find photos of donors such as advocate Dorothy Graham and the Black Archives very own Dr. Dorothy Fields, who happily and proudly took a seat.

Started in 2010 as a fundraiser, the “Take Your Seat(s)!” campaign was designed to be a medium where members of the Black community could be visibly honored.

Prices for plaques range $350 to $1,000 depending on the seat’s location in the theater. The theater has already sold out of its $350 seating said Pritchett.

Once a patron pays to reserve her seat, a plaque will be placed on a seat in the section selected.

Her name will be listed on our website as a sponsor.

Some of the Lyric Theater's sponsors include fraternity and sorority organizations such as Dade-County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and Gamma Zeta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.